Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has issued a new report detailing the government’s dramatic escalation in the number of Palestinian home demolitions in the Jordan Valley, part of the eastern West Bank.
According to the report, the Israeli government has demolished 103 homes there so far this year, after 86 were demolished in all of 2010 and only 28 in 2009. The moves in the first six months of this year have left more than 700 Palestinians homeless.
The area, as with the rest of the West Bank, was occupied by Israel in 1967. Since then, the Israeli government has been repeatedly criticized for forced evictions and harsh military restrictions over Palestinian movement.
B’Tselem warned that the current policy of escalating demolitions amounted to a “de facto annexation of the Jordan Valley.” The Netanyahu government has ruled out allowing the Jordan Valley to be part of an independent Palestinian state, and insists rather that it is part of Israel’s “border with Jordan.”